Home Airlines Want To Watch Movies On A Plane? What You Need To Do Before The Flight

Want To Watch Movies On A Plane? What You Need To Do Before The Flight

by joeheg

Airlines love to tell us the reason they no longer have seatback entertainment is that people prefer to watch their own personal devices instead of the screens provided by the airline. While that’s a questionable assumption to make, we have to live with the fact that some airlines don’t provide any onboard entertainment, while others say they do provide entertainment that you can watch on your own device.

I agree that airlines will never get seatback entertainment right but that doesn’t mean they should stop trying. I’m also sure removing the entertainment screens has nothing to do with the weight and the increased costs involved with having them because we all know that airlines don’t care about trying to save weight on planes however possible. (/sarcasm)

Since you’re on your own, here’s what you need to do before your flight to make sure you can watch the provided entertainment during the flight.

Bring your own

If you’re flying with Allegiant, Avelo, Breeze or Frontier you’ll need to load up your own devices as there’s no in-flight entertainment or Wi-Fi to keep you occupied. So stock up that iPad, Kindle or laptop with whatever you’ll need to pass the time for your flight. And if you forget, there’s always a bookstore at the airport where you can get some last-minute reading material.

Now that Spirit offers Wi-Fi on most of its fleet, you can watch your own content if you purchase the streaming package. They do not offer free content.

Download the app

If a plane has Wi-Fi, there’s a good chance you’ll have access to some form of free in-flight entertainment. However, you need to be prepared. Don’t wait until sitting down on the plane to try and download the required app. Is it only me who’s never able to get a good cell signal once I get on the plane? Even when we’re still allowed to use phones, once I board the plane, my reception usually goes to zero so even if I wanted to download something, there’s no chance I’d be able to.

Here’s what you need to do for each airline:


Most Alaska flights offer an onboard streaming service.

Most aircraft feature our streaming entertainment system, letting you watch free movies and TV shows on your own device. Simply connect to our onboard Wi-Fi network during your flight, and visit AlaskaWiFi.com to see browse our extensive library.


On most flights, you can stream our free library of movies, music, TV shows and more to your phone, tablet or laptop.

How to connect to Wi-Fi:

Phone or tablet:

  1. Enable airplane mode and connect to the “AA-Inflight” Wi-Fi signal
  2. If you’re not redirected, open a browser and enter aainflight.com


  1. Connect to the “AA-Inflight” Wi-Fi signal
  2. If you’re not redirected, open a browser and enter aainflight.com


Since almost all Delta flights have in-flight entertainment systems, they have eliminated the ability to stream Delta Studio content (movies & TV) to your personal devices.

Enjoy 1,000+ hours of free entertainment on your seatback screen including 12 channels of live satellite TV (on select aircraft) along with the latest movies, premium TV series from HBO®, Hulu® and Showtime®, podcasts, playlists and game

Part of me really wanted to watch this on a Delta flight to see if they edited it at all.



JetBlue offers free WiFi on all flights so you should have no problems keeping yourself occupied. They also offer seatback entertainment with Sirius XM radio, DirectTV and Showtime. However, there are only three movies available on the seatback screen.

You do have access to a bunch of content on your own device.


Guests seated in the Main Cabin and Extra Comfort section of our A321neo aircraft can stream inflight entertainment to their mobile devices, tablets or laptops.

Step 1 (Prior to Boarding): Download the Hawaiian Airlines App

Prior to boarding your flight, download the Hawaiian Airlines App to your Apple iOS or Android device.

Step 2: Ensure that both Location Services are ON in device settings, and Location access permission is enabled for Hawaiian Airlines App
  • Apple iOS users: Go to Settings>Privacy, ensure “Location Services” is ON. Within Location Services, find and select Hawaiian Airlines App, then select either “While Using the App” or select “Always”.
    NOTE: Once Location is enabled, an iOS device may need to be fully powered off/on (restarted) before opening the Hawaiian Airlines app.
  • Android users: At the Home screen, swipe down at top of screen to open quick settings and turn on Location icon. Next, go to device Settings > Apps, select the Hawaiian Airlines App, and ensure “App Permissions” is ON.
Step 3 (Once Onboard): Connect to the Network & Browse Content

Switch first to airplane mode in your settings and connect to the WiFi network “HawaiianAirWiFi.”

  • For mobile/tablet device users: Once connected to the network, open the Hawaiian Airlines App, select More, and then select In-Flight Entertainment.
  • For laptop users: Once connected to the network, open a supported Chrome browser (version 58+) and visit HawaiianAirlinesWifi.com to browse and play content. Please note: Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Edge browsers are not supported browsers at this time.


We’ve got something for everyone. With a wide variety of new releases and long-time Customer favorites, all movies are viewable right in your browser – no downloads or sign-ups required! These are just a few of our movies onboard the Inflight Entertainment Portal. Click “View all movies” to explore the full monthly line-up.

Sun Country

While onboard a Sun Country Airlines flight, you can use your own smartphone, tablet, or laptop to enjoy hours of complimentary entertainment from our library of movies, shows, games, and music through our secure wireless AirFi network. While onboard, you can stream a variety of great entertainment, even though there is no access to the internet. And if you forgot your headphones, they are available for purchase. In addition, as most seats have USB charging ports and our Best seats have standard AC power outlets, you can plug in your smartphone, tablet, or laptop for continuous power.


Our United Private Screening℠ options let you view the latest Hollywood hits, trending TV shows, and more through a seatback monitor or your own personal device, depending on the aircraft.

You can download the United app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store before you fly.

Screen Shot 2019-06-28 at 2.01.16 PM

Final Thoughts

While many of the airlines had previously required you to watch content through their respective apps, the only two airlines still making you do this are Hawaiian and United.

The other airlines (Alaska, American, Southwest and Sun Country) allow you to stream content onboard without purchasing Wi-Fi through your browser.

Thankfully, airlines have done away with the standalone media player apps making it a little easier to put on your headphones and watch a movie or TV show on your personal device.

Want to comment on this post? Great! Read this first to help ensure it gets approved.
Want to sponsor a post, write something for Your Mileage May Vary or put ads on our site? Click here for more info.

Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and sign up to get emailed notifications of when we post.

Whether you’ve read our articles before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!

This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


The Simplest Travel Gear Hack That Just Blew My Mind June 28, 2019 - 8:17 pm

[…] I’m borderline irrationally obsessed with “Life Hacks”. There’s something fascinating about how people creatively solve those little “first world problems”. I love finding a new gadget or saving money by jerry-rigging items together. Don’t get me started on hacks related to travel (my favorite type of all). Just last night I discovered a travel gear hack that left me speechless. One that so simply and cheaply (read: FREE) solves a problem created by the airline industry’s latest and greatest “technological advancement”. […]

derek November 23, 2020 - 2:27 pm

I hate downloading an airline app for IFE. I only watch it on one airline that I fly a lot. The battery life of devices is finite. Recharge it too many times and it will break within 3 years. I like seat back entertainment except receiving kicks in the seat by a overactive kid.


Leave a Comment